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A SOLDIER REMEMBERED
_________________
Delmar D. Holbrook

 

 

 

  During World War II, I served with HQ. CO., 2nd BN., 503d  Parachute Regimental Combat Team as a machine gunner on a .30 Cal., air cooled, belt-fed, light machine gun crew, but this story is not about me. 

 This story takes place on the Island of Mindoro, Philippine Islands in February 1945.  My good friend, Robert L. Dunn, and I had just been part of a briefing about our next mission…the airborne assault of the Island Fortress of Corregidor.  A few nights before the assault was to take place, Robert and I were sharing thoughts with each other about the upcoming jump.  Needless to say, we were both quite nervous.  But more importantly, Robert was worried about his mother loosing another son.  Robert’s brother, Staff Sergeant Archie M. Dunn, Jr. was missing in action and presumed dead after a mission to the Dutch East Indies as a Radar-Radio Operator and Gunner on a B-24 that was part of the 307th Bomb Group, 371st Bomb Squadron.  Robert was concerned about the possibility of being killed during the Corregidor Operation and the effect that it would have on his mother; loosing another of her sons.  Our conversation then turned to the very possibility of us being killed.  Robert then said something very personal and direct, “I don’t want to die, but if I do, my concern is that nobody will remember me after the war is over and that people will forget about this place and what happened here.”

 

After expressing both our fears and concerns, we made a pledge to each other.  We pledged that if one of us was killed during the war, upon returning to the states, the other would take every opportunity to honor the memory of his fallen friend.  We promised that on each Memorial Day or any other “remembrance day”, the survivor would speak of his friend that, even though he did not want to die, was still willing to do his duty for his country.

PFC Robert L. Dunn was killed in action during the assault of Corregidor on February 18, 1945.  Since returning home from the war, I have been true to my pledge to Robert.  For the past 59 years, I have used every available bully pulpit to tell the story of my friend.

 Long live in our memories one young man, Robert Lee Dunn of El Paso, Texas who died in defense of his homeland, the United States of America.  God Bless America!

 

Rev. Delmar Holbrook has told this story from his pulpit in Anderson, Indiana every Memorial Day and his family carries his story on. They will be attending the dedication of the WWII Memorial on behalf of the 503d PRCT and in memoriam Robert L. Dunn.

 

 

 

         

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REFERENCES

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503D HERITAGE

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Verne White

1936 Corregidor Map

503d Jump at Nadzab

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Last Updated: 29-03-11